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 55 Naval Mobile Construction Battalion-11 air detachment Sailors, or "Seabees" as they're known, came from Gulfport, Miss., with one mission in mind: return normalcy here and other shore communities.
 The Navy unit has retrieved and moved more than 75 vehicles on one day alone.
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Seaman Adam Mull, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 11 utilitiesman, attaches a hose to a water pump Nov. 6 in Seaside Heights, N.J. Mull uses the pump to drain water out of a sink hole caused by Hurricane Sandy. Seaside Heights sustained severe damage because it is located on the shoreline. The NMCB-11 sailors, or “Seabees”, were called in to aid the community with their engineering expertise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ryan Throneberry/Released)
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Seabees work magic for Jersey Shore communities

Posted 11/8/2012   Updated 11/8/2012 Email story   Print story


by Airman 1st Class Ryan Throneberry
Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Public Affairs

11/8/2012 - Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. -- Seaside Heights looks like a set from an action movie. Houses were torn asunder while cars and boats sit  like toys tossed around after Hurricane Sandy left its mark on the Jersey Shore.

The 55 Naval Mobile Construction Battalion-11 air detachment Sailors, or "Seabees" as they're known, came from Gulfport, Miss., with one mission in mind: return normalcy here and other shore communities.

The Seabees, staged out of NMCB-21 on Lakehurst, came from far away Nov. 4 to lend a hand in restoring the battered landscape.

"NMCB-21 has been gracious enough to host our unit while we help the Jersey Shore," said Chief Petty Officer Robert Barrett, NMCB-11 air detachment mission commander.

"Normally, an operation like this requires us to stay at the job site. NMCB-21 is berthing us and providing some basic amenities."

The Lakehurst Seabees aren't just providing housing, but a means to complete the mission.

"Seabees like to help Seabees," said Petty Officer 1st Class David Klenda, NMCB-11 heavy equipment operator. "We can use our Lakehurst post in a command and control capacity. That was one less thing we had to worry about."

The Seabees go block by block, door by door, recovering any feasibly reachable vehicle or watercraft .

The vehicle recovery process is a four-stroke motion. A spotter team locates potentially movable vehicles and radios in its location; a 50k loader scoops up the derelict vehicle; the loader then places the vehicle on a flat bed truck to be taken to a staging area.

A wrecker truck may be required, in extreme circumstances, to tug a car or boat that has become wedged in a building or residence.

The Navy unit has retrieved and moved more than 75 vehicles on one day alone.

"Our unit is pretty familiar with disaster relief both at home and abroad," said Barrett. "I think we benefit from being stationed in a hurricane-prone area in that regard."
The NMCB began posturing for mobilization before Hurricane Sandy made landfall. The unit is given 48 hours notice to deploy.

"The Seabees are extremely versatile," said Klenda. "We cover the whole spectrum of construction which is why we are such an asset. We want the residents here to come back home as fast as possible and that's what we are working toward."

The NMCB's plan of attack is to work their way up the coast until they reach Brick, N.J., 13 miles north of here.

"This recovery effort will probably go on for months," said Klenda. "The Seabees will be here as long as we are needed."

Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst has been designated an Installation Support Base from which federal emergency response elements are launching recovery efforts into areas in need. In addition, JB MDL is serving as a Base Support Installation which provides a further staging area for Department of Defense teams and assets to support hurricane response operations. More than 4,500 personnel comprise representatives from nearly 100 out-of-state military and civilian agencies who have converged at New Jersey's joint base to employ response and recovery operations throughout areas in need in the Northeast region.

Visit the JB MDL home page,; the flickr page,; and the joint base Facebook page,; for more information on JB MDL's support in Hurricane Sandy recovery operations.

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